Sérgio Licumba: the young professional who innovated and led activities to promote biodiversity in the Banhine National Park

The story of Sérgio in the conservation sector began in 2021 when he was admitted to the 2nd edition of pre-professional internships of the Mozambique Conservation Leadership Programme (PLCM), a training and capacity building programme implemented by the Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND) in coordination with the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC).

Trained in Forestry Engineering by the Higher Polytechnical Institute of Manica, Sérgio was allocated to an internship in the Banhine National Park (PNB), a Conservation Area located in the interior of Gaza province. For Sérgio, staying in such a remote area was a challenge, but he decided to embrace the cause because work in conservation is his passion.

In Banhine National Park, Sérgio discovered in a line of research an opportunity to develop his professional career. Through research, he started a project to test the germination of seeds of native trees, led environmental education activities in the schools and communities in the park’s buffer zone, began to identify the native flora, and headed the installation of the first forestry nursery in the PNB.

With his determination focused on attaining results with his research, Sérgio found in the PLCM an opportunity to begin his career as a true conservation leader. “In my internship, I developed germination tests which gave positive results. I was successful and I advanced the project, beginning to produce a considerable number of Chanfuta and Jambirre plantlets, using plastic packaging recycled as vases. The Mozambique Conservation Leadership Programme is an engine for the take-off of the career of young people in the conservation sector in Mozambique. After this internship, I was invited to teach at a national university, and today I have the opportunity to train more leaders in conservation and other areas.”

For Hélder Mandate, the supervisor of Sérgio’s internship, his contribution will be very important for maintaining the biodiversity of the PNB. The plantlets produced will be multiplied for the reforestation of the degraded areas of the Park.

This is another success story which doubtless inspires and motivates other young people who wish to embrace a conservation career in Mozambique. It should be noted that, in 2021 alone, 58 young people benefitted from PLCM internships in the conservation areas and in the country’s conservation institutions. Follow the opportunities of the Mozambique Conservation Leadership Programme!